Motherhood & Words

If you have never been to AWP, you should go at least once. The panels and readings are wonderful, of course, but also, there is just nothing like being surrounded by thousands of writers all at once. It’s overwhelming, but in a good way.
Yesterday I was able to have lunch with the wonderful Caroline Grant, editor-in-chief of Literary Mama, and the stunning Bonnie Rough, author of Carrier. And then I attended three really good panels: Representing the Erotic in Literary Fiction; The Art and Authenticity of Social Media: Using Online Tools to Grow a Community; and Delinquents, Desperados, and Drama Queens: Managing Unusual Personalities and Unexpected Situations in the Creative Nonfiction Classroom.
I took something away from each of these panels, and was especially interested (as a new tweeter) in the ways the writers on the social media panel used Twitter and Facebook and other online forums to grow their writing communities. Bethanne Patrick (thebookmaven and founder of #fridayreads on Twitter) was one of the panelists, and she (along with the other panelists) had a lot of wonderful things to say about how you can use Twitter to support and help the other writers in your community. I’m sold. I’m there.
And from the panel about managing classrooms, I loved what Hope Edelman said: “We learn from every class we teach.” I think it’s so true. I learn so much from my students—not only about how to be a better teacher, but how to be a better writer and mother.
This morning I’m taking it easy and prepping for my panel, which is this afternoon. That will be followed by a drink with one of my wonderful online Mother Words students, and then dinner with my sister, who is taking good care of me.
I wish I could attend all the panels I’m interested in, but there are simply too many. But I’ll report back tomorrow with an another update. (If I had a smart phone I could be tweeting the conference, as well, but that will have to wait until the next AWP.)

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Elizabeth on February 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    It sounds great — I wish that I could be there!

  2. Myrna CG Mibus on February 4, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Looking forward to your tweets 😉

  3. Amber on February 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks for reporting! Wish I could be there! The conference will be in Mpls in 2015, so I bet I can make it then 🙂